Thursday, September 8, 2011

Vodka Pasta

Vodka Pasta

Serves 4.

(This was supposed to post on Labor Day Monday, but I dropped the ball somehow and cancelled the posting without realizing it. So here's for your Thursday enjoyment...)

TRUE STORY: I scheduled this post weeks ago (I schedule my posts a week or two out so I don't need to worry about blogging every day.  This surprises some people.  And I think it squashes a vision for others, who think they've reading about my "last night's dinner," when in actuality it's usually a few days/weeks old.), and just a few days ago realized that it would be posting on LABOR day.  Read on...

I was flipping cookbooks the other day, looking for inspiration on what to make next, when one of them opened up to this Vodka Pasta recipe, bookmarked by the cover flap.  And that's when I realized that I had made this for The Mr. and I the night before I went into labor, and never got around to blogging it.  I guess I was just a little too busy having a baby, spending a few nights in the hospital, and bringing home a little bundle with no other intention than to snuggle her 24/7.  But alas, here it is.  And for all you who believe in Old Wives' Tales, maybe you'll make this next time you're hoping to kick start active labor.   
Source: Rachael Ray

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil, once around the pan in a slow stream
1 T. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 c vodka
1 c. chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
Coarse salt and pepper
16 oz. pasta, such as penne rigate
1/2 c. heavy cream 
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
Crusty bread, for passing

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock 1/3 cup at a time (you may not need all of it), tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.

Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.

A Note From The Little Lady: I think 1 cup of chicken stock is too much, as it seemed to make my sauce a little too runny.  See what you think for yourself, but consider adding the chicken stock in parts, as I suggested above, and stop when it seems right.

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